10 anime that had a sudden change in artistic style

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Every once in a while, an anime would suddenly shatter its own visual aesthetic and style, shocking viewers who were getting used to a specific look. Sometimes it was accidental, but in other cases it was intentional on the part of the creators.

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These sudden changes are always worth watching. Not only can they give a new perspective to a familiar story, but they can sometimes give audiences a rare glimpse of the often-overlooked behind-the-scenes look at anime production.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead.


ten Samurai May 7 or maybe didn’t change style in Episode 7 as a narrative device

Shichiroji after a fight in Samurai 7

In Samurai 7’s Seventh episode, Kanbei and his group hunt down his former war comrade Shichiroji at the Firefly Inn. In this episode, the art style dropped noticeably in terms of detail but was smoother than usual. To date, some viewers believe it was due to a sudden budget problem, but perhaps it was a deliberate artistic choice.

A popular interpretation says that this change was the way the anime emphasized the very different worlds of Shichiroji the Samurai and Shichiroji the Artist, visualizing his reluctance to leave a peaceful life for duty. Notably, he and the rest of the anime went back to the usual Samurai 7 style after joining Kanbei’s group.

9 Her situation and that of her ran out of money halfway through production

Yukino and Soichiro fight in Kare Kano

For the majority, His and his situation the look was nothing spectacular; it looked like any light and sweet romantic anime of the time. But halfway through Yukino Miyazawa and Soichiro Arima’s love story, the anime suddenly shifted from traditional animation to mediums like finger puppets, cut-out drawings, and scans of manga with vocals. off.

It was not a creative choice but a necessary choice born of a troubled production. Showrunner Hideaki Anno resigned towards the end of the anime due to intense creative differences with manga artist Masami Tsuda, and Gainax once again ran into budget issues. contrary to Neon Genesis Evangelion who encountered similar problems, these artistic changes have not aged well.

8 Osomatsu-San changed his style based on the joke

The Matsuno brothers in Ososmatsu-San Season 2

Generally, Osomatsu-SanThe art of was consistent with her Showa Era look. But depending on what they were parodying, the way the Matsuno sextuplets were shown would change dramatically. Real-life examples, their perfect idols resembling the most versatile Bishonen guys ever drawn, and the brooding seninen appearance of depressed Sanematsu.

The most drastic artistic changes usually occurred in the season premieres, where Osomatsu-San tends to get incredibly meta. For example, the second season opened with the Matsuno brothers taking a break to grow up a bit, so of course it felt like each brother was stepping out of a different anime when they reunited after the ellipse.

7 Panties and stockings with garter belt used different art styles for comedic effect

Panties and stockings prepare to transform

Panties and stockings with garter belt is basically the anime’s answer to sizzling American adult cartoons, which is why its overall art style resembles something Cartoon Network. But from time to time the art changed its style. The most obvious happened during the transformation scenes of Panty and Stocking, where they are given a fanservice-laden anime look.

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There are just too many artistic changes to the anime to list here, and they generally happened as a comedic tribute. For example, Panty and Stocking’s intense sibling rivalry led them to take on the forms of the Autobots and Decepticons of the original. Transformers cartoon, and Garterbelt’s many deaths were shown with an exploding papier-mâché figure.

6 FLCL visualized its tonal changes with shifting artistic styles

South Park at FLCL

FLCL can be read as the lively adaptation of the intense ups and downs of adolescence. The anime reflects this by changing artistic styles during great emotional moments, whether comedic or dramatic. An example of the elder caused Commander Amarao to turn into a South Park character when he took over orders from an unlucky barber.

As for the latter, darker and darker visuals were used to convey more serious emotions like self-loathing or lashing. A good example of this happened in FLCL: Progressive Episode 5, where Hidomi’s anguish reached a deadly peak. Here the animation has shifted from traditionally hand-drawn scenes to chalk drawings, paintings and manga panels.

5 Sayonara and Zetsubo-Sensei used different styles to represent Nozomu Itoshiki’s mood swings

The mystery train at Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei

Sayonara, Zetsubo-Sensei tells the story of Nozomu, a clinically depressed teacher whose students and friends tirelessly try to get him out of his despair with increasingly eccentric antics and diversions. Depending on the plot of the episode, the art would either switch to another style to reflect the insanity of the situation or the angst of Nozomu.

In one episode, the anime was transformed into a child-friendly magical girls show where Nozomu was the campy masked villain who was empowered by her and others’ desperation. A darker art shift portrays the grim outlook and worldview of Nozomu adopting the witch maze look of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

4 Pop Team Epic has changed animation style or medium in each sketch

Bob Team Epic In Pop Team Epic

In addition to having famous anime voice actors and actresses to take turns voicing the main characters in each episode, another part of Pop epic teamThe zany appeal of’s was its ever-changing art style. Each episode bundled as many short films as possible into 10 minutes (which were then replayed, but with different dubbing), and each short was hosted by a different studio.

The most common look was an accurate recreation of the manga, but after just one sketch, Pop epic team would switch to deliberately ugly tastes Bob the epic team or change the medium to that of pixel art or stop-motion felt dolls. One of his most extreme artistic changes came during his faux shojo show segments, Hoshiiro Girldrop, which was the episodic sting of the anime.

3 The Lupine III franchise has changed art styles with each new incarnation

Lupine and his friends in Lupine III the first

Lupine III has been on the air since the ’70s, and while it has retained its iconic character designs, it has had to adapt to the evolving preferences and stylistic trends of the anime industry. Every time Lupine and his company resurfaced in a new decade, they received an artistic upgrade, even though they kept their classic look and fashion.

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More recently, Lupine received digital processing in his first 3D film, Lupine III: The First. Prior to that, Lupine had a grainy, sharper makeover in the series. Lupine III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine and its adjacent films. That said, the appearance and animation of Lupine in Cagliostro Castle remains her definitive look for most old school fans.

2 The Monogatari series has mixed different mediums to enter the minds of its characters

The Monogatari The series has been widely regarded as Shaft’s animated magnum opus, and with good reason. On the surface, Monogatari essentially placed Araragi, Senjougahara and their friends in what may pass for photos of actual cityscapes. But when their interactions get heavy and serious, the art transforms to match the needed tone.

Intense discussions are portrayed through quickly edited flashing words and eerily surreal visuals, while grueling fights seem to unfold in their own pocket dimensions filled with negative space and symbolic environments. None of this is meant to be taken literally, and it’s one of the most unique forms of visual storytelling ever seen in the anime.

1 All Evangelion used shifting art styles to convey Shinji Ikari’s mental state

Fuyutsuki shows Rei in Evangelion 3 + 1

Due to Gainax’s financial difficulties, Neon Genesis Evangelion ended with a two-part clip consisting of archived footage, crayons and monochrome tests, flashing text, and introspective voiceovers. What was once a workaround has become the best depiction of Shinji’s broken self, and the movies have taken that to the extreme.

The end of evangelism and Evangelion 3.0 mixing live action footage with traditional animation during their climaxes to reflect Shinji’s crumbling spirit. During this time, Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0 combined different animation techniques (such as hand-drawn and CG) with live action to show the surreal mental battle Shinji had to win to achieve true self-realization.

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